A Belper man whose dreams of playing professional football were shattered by a crippling injury has carved out a new career as a personal trainer.
Joe Conkleton, 23, was on the way to sporting success during a football scholarship in Miami Florida. However, struck by agonising back problems, his dreams were disappearing by the day.
Numerous scans later, the doctors found fractures either side of Joe’s lumbar spine, and even with a course of steroid injections the pain wasn’t easing.
Joe’s performance on the pitch was sadly worsening and so it was decision time.
Hanging up his boots, Joe soon found relief at his local gym.
With a major focus on back and core gym-based strength exercises Joe got on top of his pain management.
“I’d been coaching football since the age of 16 and very quickly realised that I could combine my love for helping others with my knowledge and passion for fitness” said Joe.
“On recommendation from a close friend, I signed up for my Fitness Instructor and Personal Training qualifications with Lifetime at the Leeds training venue in September 2013.”
Under the guidance of his mentor, Lisa Phillips, Joe successfully completed his practical exam and completed the entire course within six months.
And after a gruelling interview process Joe accepted a Personal Trainer role at David Lloyd Leisure, Nottingham.
“I can’t fault the Lifetime courses.
“Lisa’s support was incredible - she was always on hand if I had questions and the Leeds training facility is just brilliant.
“I really enjoyed getting to know others on the course and it gave me the confidence I needed to kick start my fitness career.”
The very determined Joe added: “Not only does my job as a PT help me with my back pain but it fills the void left by not being able to fulfil my dream of becoming a footballer.
“I get to help others with their fitness goals, weight loss challenges and injury rehab every day – it’s extremely rewarding.
“I hope to complete my Sports Massage qualification with Lifetime soon and in the future, who knows, maybe I’ll head back to the States to follow my football and PT dreams.”
So what would Joe’s advice be to others? “Follow your dreams – it’s so important to be passionate about your career!”